What is HR Compliance for the Cannabis Industry?

Being an Employer in the Cannabis industry is an exciting and noble endeavor. However, taking compliance “risks” is far from both.

Cannabis companies and Cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) have the unfortunate task of maintaining compliance with both Cannabis specific regulations as well as traditional labor laws. Cannabis businesses are also subject to additional scrutiny from the IRS, DHS, OSHA, USDA, and many other federal agencies, and  state-based Cannabis Regulatory Agencies

Our mission is to help Cannabis companies “de-risk” their business by becoming a partner in the cause of legitimacy, transparency, and operational excellence. 

To see how Evolve HCM is helping countless cannabis businesses in Colorado and across the country streamline HR and cannabis workforce management, contact us today.


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Areas of Cannabis Business Compliance Include...

IRS Section 280E

Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code forbids businesses from deducting otherwise ordinary business expenses from gross income associated with the “trafficking” of Schedule I or II substances, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act. The IRS has subsequently applied Section 280E to state-legal cannabis businesses, since cannabis is still a Schedule I substance.


Our Cannabis Time and Labor Software will help Cannabis employers track allowable labor-related expenses under Section 280E within cost centers while also providing a complete audit history for ALL labor expenses, both 280E applicable and non-280E applicable expenses. This combination creates a fully transparent labor expense record designed to support accurate accounting for allowable Cost-of-Goods-Sold (COGS) deductions along with a complete accounting of all labor expenses incurred.

New Hire Compliance

(Badges, Cards, Permits, and Certifications)


With no federal cannabis employment guidelines available, each state has established its own requirements for working in the respective cannabis industry. The result is that each state has its own requirements that are not consistent. Cannabis employers, in general, and multi-state operators, specifically, have the difficult challenge of ensuring new hire compliance.


Our Cannabis Onboarding Software is implemented with state-by-state Cannabis Employer hiring guidelines in mind. We'll help you ensure that licenses, certifications, registrations (badging, cards, permits, etc.), and background check requirements are met, track expiration dates, and provide timely renewal notifications to help ensure ongoing compliance.

Banking & Regulatory

The distribution and sale of marijuana remain a crime subject to enforcement under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”), creating a significant dilemma for financial institutions. Most banks are unwilling to work with CRBs, and marijuana-friendly banks are subject to significant and costly due diligence requirements. These CRB banking requirements, along with state reporting requirements, create the need for accurate and timely reporting data and integrations.


Evolve provides reporting and monitoring tools that allow CRBs to identify, monitor, and report on transactions and events that are required to ensure compliance and transparency. Proactively monitoring and maintaining compliance data can enhance a CRB's position with investors, banks, and government agencies.

I-9 / E-Verify

Monetary penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized workers under the Immigration and Nationality Act range from $375 to $16,000 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties at the higher end of the scale. In addition, ALL U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens.


We provide access to the E-Verify Program by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is a system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their new employees to work in the United States. Usage of the E-Verify Program has been made mandatory within a number of states. Our Cannabis Onboarding Software helps employers maintain compliance with immigration regulations and eliminate paper waste. This service includes accurately generated I-9s, online with electronic signatures.

ACA Compliance

If an employer has 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, the ACA requires that they offer affordable coverage to at least 95% of them. Employees that work at least 30 hours each week are defined as full-time under the ACA. Failure to offer Minimum Essential Coverage to 95% of full-time employees [“a” penalty]: $2,570 times the number of full-time employees in excess of 30; if one full-time employee receives subsidized healthcare coverage from the ACA Marketplace. 


Our ACA Compliance Software provides proactive management of your ACA compliance strategy across your entire workforce. It gives you the tools to effectively manage regular and variable hour employees’ benefit compliance, along with applicable reporting. The service also includes Year-End compliance reporting of the production/distribution of individual employee 1095 C’s

ACA Manager

Employers of the cannabis industry and beyond need to find a way to effectively manage regular- and variable-hour employees’ benefit compliance, along with applicable reporting and a simple year-end process that includes the issuance of form 1095C to all employees.


The Evolve ACA Manager provides proactive management of your ACA compliance strategy across your entire workforce. With a single record for each employee, you can streamline and automate the benefits enrollment process as they reach eligibility. Eligibility notifications can be sent to employees with links to automate the enrollment process via simplified self-service features.

Tax Compliance

State and local tax withholding and reciprocity: Tax withholding and state tax reciprocal agreements can be complicated. Evolve helps to easily distinguish taxation based on employee residency and work locations, and also handles multistate taxation.

Overtime Complexities

States must follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or may create more employee-friendly regulations. Through Evolve Compliance you can access resources to identify the most favorable regulations applicable to your company.

Wage statements

Some states go beyond federal wage reporting requirements on paycheck information and paycheck/wage statement distribution. Also, meal and rest break guidelines, predictive scheduling and paid workweek rules, and countless more regulations are also available via the Evolve Compliance Resource Center.

Tax Filing & Deposits

There are more than 10,000 tax jurisdictions in the U.S. and therefore thousands of constantly changing IRS tax regulations. Add in tight deadlines and harsh penalties for noncompliance and it becomes clear why employers value our Evolve Employer Tax Compliance Services.


Our Cannabis Payroll Software uses quarterly updates from thousands of federal, state, and local codes to manage your compliance across multiple tax types and jurisdictions. Along with Federal, State, and Local Tax Deposit and Filing Services, the Evolve Employer Compliance solution includes Year-End filings and the production and distribution of all employee W-2’s 

Garnishment Services

Employers are typically notified of a wage garnishment via a court order or IRS levy. They must comply with the garnishment request, and typically start withholding and remitting payment as soon as the order is received. Employers are required by law to comply with every garnishment request.

Evolve Employer Compliance, Garnishment Services provides for the processing of third-party payments such as child support, tax levies, and creditor garnishments. This process uses the information entered and calculated in Evolve Payroll and automatically makes payments based on the amounts being withheld, so each payment reaches its destination on time.

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